Sue Bird, Eddy Alvarez will be U.S. flag bearers at Tokyo Olympics

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Today.com 21 July, 2021 - 06:02am 21 views

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Bird, 40, has won four gold medals with the women's team dating back to 2004. Alvarez, 31, has played with the Miami Marlins and won a silver medal in speedskating at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Bird told TODAY she was moved by the notion that her fellow Team USA athletes chose her.

“I think that’s the best part, to be honest, to have your peers be the one to kind of see your career and pick you to be the one to lead us in,” Bird said Wednesday.

Alvarez was visibly choked up at the news that he'd been selected.

“It means everything to me. To be able to lead Team USA is an absolute honor,” he said.

“That’s always been my favorite moment, outside of winning, obviously,” Bird said. “So, to actually be named (flag bearer) now is mind-blowing.”

Traditionally, one person has typically served as flag bearer in the Olympics, but this year it was changed to two after the International Olympic Committee encouraged one male and one female to represent each nation as a symbol of gender parity. The flag bearers are chosen by their teammates.

“With 49 per cent female participation, Tokyo 2020 will be the first gender-equal Olympic Games ever,” the IOC says. “For the first time, there will be at least one female and one male athlete in each of the teams participating in the Games.

Fencer Janice Lee Romary was the first American woman to act as flag bearer in 1968 in Mexico City.

Athletes carrying the flags of their countries dates back to the 1908 Games in London. Track and field star Ralph Rose was the first U.S. athlete to serve as flag bearer.

The athletes will have a distinctive look at the ceremony. Designed by Ralph Lauren, the uniforms will feature a navy blazer, a striped T-shirt, a flag-printed scarf, slim-fit jeans, a striped belt, a cotton mask and coordinating shoes that feature more red, white and blue. Flag bearers will also be the lone athletes on the team wearing white denim jackets.

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Bird and Alvarez named Team USA flag bearers for Tokyo Games

Reuters 21 July, 2021 - 08:44am

July 21 (Reuters) - Basketball player Sue Bird and baseball player Eddy Alvarez will be Team USA's flag bearers at this week's opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee said on Wednesday.

Bird, a four-times Olympic champion, and Alvarez, who won a silver in speed skating at the 2014 Sochi Games, were chosen by fellow Team USA athletes and are the first duo to share the honour of leading the delegation into the opening ceremony.

Bird, 40, is the first basketball player to be named flag bearer since Dawn Staley, coach of the current team, in 2004.

"It's an incredible honour to be selected the flag bearer for Team USA," said Bird. "I know what that means because I got to witness Dawn Staley go through it when she was selected in 2004.

"It's an honour that is bigger than the moment in that you've been selected by your fellow Team USA athletes to represent the entire delegation, and it will last forever."

Alvarez, a first-generation Cuban-American, also brings Olympic experience to Tokyo having won silver as part of the 5,000-meter four-man short track speed skating team in Sochi.

"My family has sacrificed so much for me to have the opportunity to wave this flag proudly," said Alvarez.

"I am grateful for my time with US Speedskating and USA Baseball, as well as for all of my teammates, and I am humbled to lead Team USA into the Tokyo Olympic Games."

The United States will send a team of 613 athletes to the Tokyo Summer Games, its second largest delegation ever for an Olympics, trailing only the 648 who were named to the team for the 1996 Atlanta Games.

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